To many, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. For some, the very same aspects that make November and December exciting can also lessen their overall well-being. With so much going on, many people feel overwhelmed, run down, and generally unwell during this time of year.
Don’t wait until January 1 to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Plan ahead and create a game plan so that you start 2015 in a healthy, happy place.
Set a budget. And stick to it. Giving gifts to others makes us feel good, but be realistic about how much you can spend on those near and dear to you. Consider using all cash if it will help you stay on track with your budget. Also, think of low cost gifts you can make or things you can do for people such as cleaning or walking dogs.
Manage your time. Overcommitting, especially during the holidays, will only lead you to feeling stressed and run down. Be realistic with your social and family commitments, and be sure to balance them with time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no!
Don’t sacrifice sleep. When people get busy, sleep is often the first thing moved to the bottom of the to do list. Sleep is not only the foundation for your day, but your overall health as well. As often as possible, aim to get six to eight hours each night. Also, watch sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake late in the day. All of these substances can interfere with sleep. Additional sleep tips are available on the Health Promotion and Wellness website.
Make time to move. Not only is physical activity important for your health, it also helps you manage stress. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes at least three to four times a week. Schedule your activity time just as you would any other obligation. Get creative on how to work out: take a walk to look at lights in your neighborhood or find free workout videos on YouTube.
Eat before you go. A lot of winter social activities revolve around food and drinks that while tasty, might not align with your wellness goals. Eating a healthy snack or small meal before you go to a party will help you not make food choices out of hunger or overeat. For more individualized nutrition information, schedule a free nutrition consultation.
Mind your liquids. It’s easy to forget the calories in beverages such as soda, flavored coffees, Egg Nog, hot chocolate, and alcoholic beverages. Focus on getting at least eight glasses of water a day and alternate water when drinking other beverages.
Wash your hands. We tend to socialize with more people during the holidays. And sometimes we give the gift that keeps on giving—germs. Flu season tends to pick up after the holidays due to added social activities, so if you haven’t already consider getting a flu shot. Also, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water frequently—always after using the restroom and before you eat. Keep hand sanitizer with you to use when you can’t wash your hands. And if you don’t feel well, stay home. Not only will you save others from your germs, but your body will thank you for the extra rest.
Remember to enjoy! An indulgence here and there will not completely derail your wellness efforts. Consider using the 80/20 rule: Focus on health-supporting habits 80 percent of the time and be a little more relaxed the remaining 20 percent. Balance is vital to any healthy lifestyle.